SFARI Explorer Award

Simons Foundation

Grant amount: Up to US $70,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Faculty

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Degree requirements: Applicants must have a completed PhD

View website    Save Need help writing this grant?


SFARI mission

The mission of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) is to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by funding innovative research of the highest quality and relevance.

To this end, we solicit applications for SFARI Awards from individuals who will conduct bold, imaginative, rigorous and relevant research.

Objective of the SFARI Explorer Awards

This award program is designed to enhance our existing support of autism research by providing timely resources to enable focused experiments highly relevant to our mission. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying autism spectrum disorders or potential therapeutic approaches will require investigation at multiple levels, including but not limited to studies focused on gene discovery, molecular mechanisms, circuits, anatomy, and cognition and behavior. We will consider proposals at all of these levels.

The maximum budget is $70,000, including indirect costs for one (1) year, non-renewable.

Explorer Awards are intended to provide resources to support exploratory experiments that will strengthen hypotheses and lead to the formulation of competitive applications for subsequent larger-scale funding by SFARI or other organizations. Innovative, high-risk/high-impact proposals are encouraged. We especially encourage applications from investigators who are new to the field of autism, but who have expertise that could be brought to bear on this complex disorder.

Receiving support for an exploratory grant does not guarantee future support from the Simons Foundation. Neither requests for supplemental funding from recipients of other SFARI grants nor travel funding requests will be entertained.

Applicants are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with the  work currently supported by SFARI and to consider how their proposals might complement existing grants.  We also recommend that applicants read the SFARI Blog post, SFARI 2016 grants cycle: choices, challenges, and priorities, where we discuss our funding priorities in more detail and other considerations for successful proposals.

Applicants are encouraged to use existing resources developed by SFARI. A number of mouse models of high-risk autism genes and copy number variants (CNVs) are available to the research community at minimal cost via a collaboration between SFARI and The Jackson Laboratory. Access to the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) and the Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP) — resources of rigorously characterized phenotypic, genetic, and imaging data, and biospecimens — are available to approved scientists through SFARI Base. We expect Simons Investigators to share renewable reagents and data developed with SFARI funds with other qualified investigators.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis, with a response time as early as 30 days.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • All applicants and key collaborators must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent at a college, university, medical school or other research facility.
  • Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign nonprofit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government.
  • There are no citizenship or country requirements.


  • We especially encourage applications from investigators who are new to the field of autism, but who have expertise that could be brought to bear on this complex disorder.


  • Postdoctoral associates may not apply as PIs.
  • Funds may not be used for stipend or benefit supplementation unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from which funds are derived.